Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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14. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Kindness – Part 1

2 Timothy 1:8-18

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 15 As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. 17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

As we continue to look at cultivating Christ like character we come to the fifth virtue in the fruit of the Spirit, Kindness. Kindness is something that not only goes against our current culture but is something our culture seems to have all but killed. I believe this is because kindness is rooted in service where our culture is rooted in selfishness. Kindness is not just an attitude but an action that flows out of our caring. So, as we think about cultivating Christ like character we need to remember that we have a kind King. One who served us by sacrificing His life for us. As His followers we too are called to care with kindness. Kindness is “love in action.” It’s the practical expression of love that is visible and active and not just emotional. But why should we be kind? After all, kindness is kind of risky. If we are nice to someone they might think, “Why is this person being so nice? What’s in it for them?” On the other hand, people could see our kindness and try to take advantage of us. Yet despite the risks we need show kindness to others for several reasons. First it is a command of God, Ephesians 4:31-32, says; “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Why would Christ command us to be kind because kindness cultivates relationships instead of killing them. Today we live in a culture that is more calloused than caring and instead of cultivating kindness we are more likely to be angry and bitter. Kindness is saying yes to the commands of Christ, its putting feet to your faith through obedience. Another reason we need to show kindness is that when we do we reveal the character of Christ to a watching world. Kindness is one of the simplest and yet most magnetic ways we can share the Savior. When we point our fingers and condemn people they get defensive but when we care for them with kindness instead of being guarded toward God they are open. Does the way that you treat people reveal your love for the Lord? What kind of witness does a watching world see in the way you treat others? Thirdly kindness is our response to the grace God has shown us. God didn’t just tell us He loves us, He proved it. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s not enough for us to say we love others; we must show it. Kindness is more than an attitude it’s an action. You don’t perform acts of kindness to earn God’s mercy and forgiveness; you perform good deeds because you have been loved and forgiven. When God saved you, He began to change you. You should no longer want to live like pagan people who don’t know God and only want to live for self. When you show kindness to a stranger, they are surprised. Why? Because that’s not normal behavior. Out there in this wicked world, it is every man for himself. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, a hard-knock life. But for those of us who know Jesus, we live by a higher standard, a standard that our Savior set for us. You see the world tends to give people what they deserve. But God is full of grace and mercy. Grace is God blessing you with that which you do not deserve. Mercy is God withholding the punishment you do deserve. The more you understand and appreciate God’s grace and mercy, the more you will want to show kindness to others. Kindness is really a reflection of how much you get the grace of God. The truth is that mean people don’t get God’s mercy. So, does the way that you treat people reveal that you get God’s grace or that you are missing the point of His mercy? Who do you know that needs to see the kindness of Christ? What if today you cleared a little room on your calendar for kindness and took the time to look for those who need God’s love.